LAHORE - Instead of protecting the masses, the Elite Force seems to have become a protocol-cum-security outfit for the elite since 721 escorts have been deputed for the protection and pomposity of political leaders and their families, while 213 are with the Sharif family only. The Elite Force security is additional to the 'routine one, which comprises men from different departments, primarily meant to maintain the law and order. Interestingly, this Elite security cover has been provided to the political families, both immediate and distant, belonging to the former and present rulers. This is still continuing despite the fact that Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, while chairing a high-level meeting, had directed that the Elite Force should be drawn from the protocol and security duties. However, neither he nor his family members have sent the men back to the department, while the rest are also keeping them. Interestingly, this trend is catching up fast even with those, who matter less in the hierarchy, but they want the Elite Force to protect them. The deputed force has virtually been divided into three categories, that is, Elite Escorts on Elite vehicles, Elite Escorts on vehicles from the district police line and the Elite Escorts without vehicles. Almost all the persons are having escorts from these three categories. As per documents, on Elite vehicles, 266 Escorts have been deputed for 19 individuals. The highest number of Escorts, which is 51, have been deputed at the Raiwind residence of the Sharifs. Another 48 Escorts have been provided to Shahbaz Sharif. His two sons Hamza Shahbaz and Salman have 16 and six Escorts respectively, and have been given three vehicles from the district police line. His son-in-law Imran Yousuf has been provided 9 Escorts, and CMs family has 11 Escorts on Elite vehicles. 'Begum CM (61-A C-1 Gulberg) has been provided 14 Escorts and an Elite vehicle. So 104 Escorts are with Shahbaz Sharif and his family. On the other hand, 54 Elite Escorts have been given to Shahbaz Sharifs elder brother and former Premier Nawaz Sharif. This security cover has also eight vehicles, which have been provided from District Police Line. Four Escorts have been given at the disposal of Nawaz Sharifs son-in-law MNA Capt (Retd) Safdar. Second to the Sharifs, in terms of security cover as well, are the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, as they have 67 Elite Escorts with them. Former PM Ch Shujaat Hussain has been given 22 Elite Escorts, while his son Ch Shafey Hussain has eight Escorts at his disposal. Former CM Punjab Ch Pervaiz Elahi has 22 Escorts, while his MPA son Ch Moonis Elahi has seven. Familys another relative has been given eight Elite Escorts. The third family in this list is of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, which has 58 Elite Escorts. Twenty have been deputed for the security of Premiers wife, 12 for Premiers son MPA Abdul Qadir Gilani, 10 each for son Moosa Gilani and daughter, and six for another son Haider Gilani. Another PPP man Governor Punjab Salman Taseer has been given 38 Elite Escorts for his security, whereas PPPs Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmed has 10 Escorts to provide him security. The fifth family to be part of the race are the Khosas with 22 Escorts. Son Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan Khosa has taken lead over his father Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, as the former has 14, while the latter has been given eight Elite Escorts. In contrast to the VIPs security cover, 17 are for Dosti Bus, and only 15 each have been deputed on gates of important buildings and on special duty. 'These are actually used as-per-need basis, and can be sent to any 'emergency duty as required, confided a source, while ,adding, that quite a large number of Escorts were not using their own uniform, as they were clad in operational police uniforms. 'Because of the politicians protocol pomposity, one can see vehicles filled with armed security guards running on City roads, which adds to the masses sense of insecurity and resentment for the politicians. This is all at the cost of peoples tax money, opined the source.